Sage and Lemon Risotto
This is based on Anna del Conte’s signature dish. The only difference is that I could not find the book with the recipe in it, and improvised so it is minus the vegetable or chicken stock, and minus celery, plus a few other alterations only because of the glut of courgettes we have at the moment and their subsequent addition to everything. It is truly memorable and worthy of a dinner party. You could follow Anna’s idea of preparing it until halfway cooked, finishing it off when your guests are here so as to save you from spending half an hour or so away from your party when cooking from scratch.
Serves 4 (though it fed me and 2 hungry men)
1 knob of butter
1 slug of olive oil
1 large or 2 small onions
2 cloves garlic
1 cup/215g/7.6oz risotto rice
1 cup/250mls of white wine
a kettle of boiling water (you can use chicken or veg stock but I find the sage, garlic and lemon flavour is fully apparent with just water unless you use very mild stock)
zest of two unwaxed lemons
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp double cream
2 heaped tbsp of finely grated parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
Sea salt (the mild flavour is better than standard table salt)
3 tbsp torn sage leaves
1 medium sized courgette thinly sliced
1. Dice the onion finely and add to melted butter and oil. Stir until translucent.
2. Add one finely chopped clove of garlic for one minute.
3. Add the rice and coat in the oil and butter for a minute or so.
4. Add the wine and stir in.
5. When it has absorbed into the rice, add a ladleful of hot water, stirring gently until it is absorbed.
6. Keep adding the water until the rice is al dente.
7. Add the grated zest of the lemons and stir in. Stop at the point if you want to semi-prepare the dish before serving later.
8. Add more water and stir until it is creamy and add the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of torn sage leaves.
9. Add more water ladle by ladle and keep stirring until it is creamy and perfectly done. Add two tablespoons of double cream and two heaped tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese. Leave to to rest while you prepare the courgettes.
10. Heat a knob of butter in a pan and when hot add the finely sliced courgette.
11. When al dente, add a tablespoon of torn sage leaves with some sea salt and fry for another minute.
12. Add a chopped clove of garlic and stir in for a minute or until the courgettes are cooked through, so a little longer is fine.
13. Serve the risotto with the courgettes on top and some extra finely grated parmesan.